Bermuda going dormant

   / Bermuda going dormant #1  


Gold Member
Mar 22, 2006
~'88 1872(sold); '08 GT2554
Thought this might be interesting to some. Growing up in the North I really did not know about how Bermuda acts. Even after being down South for many years I am still intrigued by it.

Summer: lush and green

Starting to go dormant: still as thick. just doesn't look lik eit

"Tiger striping" (or what I call it):

One last picture to come in a few weeks of it being totally dormant. If we get a warm spell it will go back to being green again.....but not once it goes totally dormant.
   / Bermuda going dormant #2  
All I can say is WOW! Does it take a while to green back up in the spring?

   / Bermuda going dormant #3  
How cold is it there? Here, in my area of East Texas, I'll have green grass into November. Bermuda is one of the last grasses to go dormant, and it takes a few freezes for it to happen. I planted some bermuda seed a few weeks ago, and I have new shoots coming up. I have another month or more of time for it to get established before winter. Then in the spring, March to April, it will start to grow again. From previous years, it will be slow at first, then in June, it will just take off!!!

Zoysia grass looks allot like bermuda, but it turns brown and goes dormant extremly early in the season. I've never seen the tiger stripes that you have with my bermuda, or any other lawn in East Texas. It could be that I just haven't noticed it, or it could be that you don't have bermuda grass. Are you sure you have bermuda grass? How sure?

   / Bermuda going dormant #4  
We don't know what part of Tenn he lives in but I kinda think that Tenn is a bit north for Bermuda to fare well. It may be a special blend of Hybrid Bermuda that was hybridized for a cooler clime. In any event, the blade and texture of the grass in the pics does not favor Bermuda as we know it here in the "hot zone." And no, the "tiger striping" or whatever it is is not common with Bermuda as we know it. In fact, I have never seen it.

Upon another review of the top pic, I believe this in like a "Bluegrass." Again, the blade is too wide for Bermuda but more important, in the upper right hand corner of the top pic is an area of trees and tall shrubs, which would give shade half of the day. Bermuda is notorious about its refusal to grow anywhere near shade. It needs full sun all day.
   / Bermuda going dormant
  • Thread Starter
It has already frosted here twice.

This is SOUTHWEST Tn, not Northeast Tn. Completely different growing zone. MUCH hotter here.
A few snipets from web sites:
"Because Kentucky bluegrass grows fastest in spring and fall, those are the times to fertilize." Our grass won't grow unless it's over 70 at night and grows like crazy when temps are above 90 and especially when it's near 100.

"Kentucky bluegrass recovers from summer dormancy within 20 to 30 days when temperatures cool down." Summer and dry condition dormancy, not winter dormancy.

Bermuda Grass - Bermudagrass is the species most adapted to and most frequently used in southern Tennessee. Many new and improved seeded varieties have been developed and released during the last 10 years. Users now have a choice of varieties that are denser and finer textured than the almost extinct seed of common bermudagrass. Bermudagrass spreads aggressively by stolons (aboveground runners) and rhizomes (belowground runners) and can become a nuisance when it invades flower beds and gardens. Also, cold-tolerant seeded and vegetative varieties are available that withstand lower winter temperatures.

We can even grow Zoysia here. St Augustine is probably out of the question.

We are a major transition zone here. You can grow bentgrass to zoysia here. Bent takes a LOT of care in the Summer to survive. Many golf courses here have made the mistake of using it for greens. The new 'championship bermuda' does much better. Zoysia does pretty well actually.

Typically we get 4 inches of snow a year but last year we got a 12-in snowfall. 2 summers ago we had a stretch of a month of 100-degree days. So we have a pretty wide range of 'weather'. Can go from about -10 to 110. I've seen -10 to 106 in the time I've been here. Typical is 0 to 100 with stretches of 6 weeks to 2 months over 90.
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   / Bermuda going dormant
  • Thread Starter
All I can say is WOW! Does it take a while to green back up in the spring?


It won't start greening until temps get near 80. Which is great beacuse we don't have to cut grass from about now until about April.
   / Bermuda going dormant #7  
diesel, I had no idea that it got that hot there consistently, sounds close to where I love which is at least a Zone south of you. In any event, thks for the "snipets" on bermuda, obviously we've come a long ways in hybrid bermuda and its tolerances/hardiness. Around here, Centipede rules and Bermuda is only used in pastures for hay. That would be coastal bermuda and it's highly desired as hay but totally unacceptabe as lawn.

I wanat to ask also if they have developed a bermuda strain that is now shade tolerant as well and what does the actual bermuda blade compare to. Here, bermuda is a very thin blade, thinner than all the other grasses.
   / Bermuda going dormant
  • Thread Starter
Bermuda just doesn't do well in shade. This is a pretty fine-blade grass. I'll try to get another photo with a size reference in it for ya. Blade is much thinner than zoysia and a lot thinner than fescue.
   / Bermuda going dormant #9  
Thank you for the clarification. I got to wondering if your striping was a characteristic of a specific type of bermuda grass. It must be since it's so different then what we have here. I think it makes for a very interesting lawn for as long as it lasts!!!!

Grass is still green, lush and growing here. I mowed over the weekend and figure I have another mowing before I'm done for the year. Of course, with the sudden change of weather that we're having, I might be done for the year. It's sure getting cold out and we're in a pattern of extreme rain right now. Both are very unusual for here, so there's no telling what will happen with the grass.

I do admire your first picture and how beautiful your lawn looks. It's something that I really enjoy seeing while driving around. I think a well kept lawn makes a statement about the home owners, and what type of people that live in that house.

Congrats on a very nice lawn,
   / Bermuda going dormant
  • Thread Starter
I think the striping is more due to rainfall than anything. It seems to happen more when it's a wet year. I think that effects when some of it goes dormant and other parts doesn't.....just a guess here.